Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Whether one wishes to believe it or not, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the religious right over the past 60 or more years to slowly turn the United States into a theocracy.  Anyone who doubts that this is true should simply research the subject.  A good place to start is theocracywatch.org.

In fact, as I pointed out before, the current version of the pledge of allegiance is the most blatant example imaginable of a statement of intent to impose theocracy.  There is no other meaning that can be ascribed to the addition of the words "under god" to the pledge in 1954.  It is an expression of the notion that the U.S. Government is subordinate to god.  The U.S. Constitution, however, is based on the notion that our Government is, to use Lincoln's wonderful phrase, "of the people, by the people, and for the people".  Whatever relationship individuals may have with their god or gods is not relevant to that Government.  God is not relevant to that Government.  Under the U.S. Constitution, religion is a private matter.

Many religious people, including sitting Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia have expressed a belief that all governments derive their authority from god.  This notion directly contradicts one of the most basic notions on which the U.S. Government, and most modern political philosophy, is based, which is that the authority of government is derived from the governed.  The idea that governments derive their authority from god is consistent only with the view that governments are ordained by god and therefore must obey god.  This notion is consistent only with theocracy.

If there were no efforts to slowly turn the U.S. into a theocracy, why would such a blatantly un-Constitutional phrase have been inserted into the pledge of allegiance?  And, how could such a blatantly theocratic person become a Supreme Court Justice, and worse, say such a thing during oral argument at the Court concerning a separation of church and state issue without even noticing that he was expressing a notion that is blatantly at odds with the U.S. Constitution?

There are those who try to minimize the implications of the amendment to the pledge of allegiance by asserting that it was done to "distinguish the U.S. from the communists".  But, this explanation makes no sense.  It isn't even an explanation; merely a statement of the zeitgeist that was the motivating factor in making such a blatantly un-Constitutional act.

The U.S. Government was not in any sense "under god".  It was a secular government, which is not the same as an avowedly atheistic government such as the communist countries had.  If Congress wanted to distinguish the U.S. from the communists, then it would have been much better, both more accurate and more persuasive, to insert the word "Free".

During most of my life, I always heard from other Americans, uniformly, that the U.S. was a "Free Country".  My reading of U.S. history, and the documents defining the U.S. Government confirmed this characterization.  Freedom was America's defining characteristic.  Only in the last 20 or so years have I begun to hear people refer to the U.S. as "Christian Nation".  I think this development is quite significant and quite ominous.  It shows that the theocracy movement has grown and is no longer the ignored lunatic fringe.

Many people don't want to believe this and many others don't really understand what it means.  I often hear people say, "what's the worst that could happen?"  These people seem to think that the theocrats simply want to put organized prayer back in schools and ban abortion.  Personally I think that would be bad enough.  I don't need to know any thing else to know that there will be serious negative consequences.

Putting prayer back in public schools and securing tax dollars to run religious schools would result in a nearly uniform brainwashing of our youth.  Recent trends toward disbelief in the populace of the U.S. have often been attributed to the effect of the internet.  While I believe that to be true, I think (as do the theocrats) that the lack of organized prayer sessions in public schools plays a role.  The religious know that brainwashing children is essential to the survival of their religions.  In a democracy (even a republic like ours), the power to control the way the voters think is the ultimate power.  If you cede that power, you have ceded everything.

Those changes alone will cause a great deal of harm, but they are the tip of the iceberg.  Once religion controls how people think and vote, then it is only a matter of time until the extent of the theocracy grows to encompass things we would never believe could happen in the U.S.  It would only be a matter of time until the U.S. Government was indistinguishable from that of Iran, with the leaders of the dominant religion calling the shots and making the rules.  The Christians are sure this will be their leaders, but they shouldn't be so sure.  Once the door of theocracy is open, then there is no guarantee that any one particular religion--or even one particular sect of that religion will be or remain dominant.

The biggest single danger from the religious right is the political, economic, and social discrimination that they would allow or even
enforce against nonbelievers.  (Religious people of non-Christian faiths would often support this. Hatred of atheists and agnostics is
the one thing many of them have in common.)  In other words, non-believers might be forced to pretend to be a believer to keep their jobs, their relationships, and even the right to vote and live in peace.

Many non-believers are already in that position in an America where such things are usually illegal--or, at least, unethical.  I can only imagine how much worse it would be if such discrimination were legal or even enforced by the Government.

That is the most immediate threat: Non-believers will have to pretend to believe in order to have a semblance of a normal life and full citizenship.  Furthermore, something similar will happen to those believers who don't belong to the dominant religion.  They probably won't be forced to convert or pretend to convert to the dominant religion, but they will find that members of the dominant religion will enjoy dominance over them (and us non-believers) in other ways.  As I pointed out before, being a member of one of the dominant religions gives one near immunity from prosecution for wrongdoing for all practical purposes.  And, if that is the case even now in a country which doesn't officially allow such favoritism, I can only imagine how much more privileged members of those religions will be if the wall of separation between church and state is completely torn down.

Other things will, of course, happen.  Perhaps only in the "red states" at first but I don't doubt that the goal is to have those changes effective throughout the country.  Abortion will be banned--and with it other forms of birth control, because if there is no right to privacy in this matter, then Griswold v. Connecticut will no longer be the law.  As a recent news item indicated, which I wrote about in another post, it might not even be too far fetched to think that criminal penalties, perhaps even the death penalty (as indicated by the facts of that case), will be enacted for those who have had abortions.

We will certainly see the end of any debate about gay marriage.  Sodomy laws will be re-enacted, strengthened and enforced, perhaps even against heterosexuals and perhaps even against married heterosexuals.  Criminal sanctions for pre-marital or extra-marital sex are a distinct possibility.  People have forgotten that most of these things were, in fact, the law until very recently.  Americans alive today can remember when it was illegal for a husband and wife to use birth control or give each other oral sex in many states.  We should think long and hard before doing nothing while people who support such laws, and worse, seek high office in this country.

School prayer would certainly became uniform practice if not the law, perhaps even with criminal punishments being attached for failure to comply, of course corporal punishment will be the norm for failure to comply.  There would be regular religious indoctrination in schools.

Certain types of research will be banned, and I can only guess how far that will go: Will they ban research on evolution? Paleontology?  Certainly, stem cell research will be banned, more completely than now, and perhaps the fruits of such research from other countries.  How about the right not to recite the pledge of allegiance?  I doubt that right would be free from attack. How about attempts to start nuclear war in the middle east in order to fulfill prophecy and bring about Armageddon and bring sweet baby jeebus back to earth?

There are even a few religious fanatics on the fringe who think non-believers should all be killed.  Not likely to happen, you say?  I am sure many German Jews thought the same thing in 1931 and the Spanish nationalists in 1936.  Even now in the U.S. many non-believers don't dare speak the truth about their thoughts for fear of losing jobs, etc.  Non-believers are already treated on a frequent basis to exhortations to "leave, if you don't like" the idea that America is a "Christian Nation" and a nation that is "under god".  This is exactly what the Nazis told the Jews when they came to power--they told them to leave.  It was only after the German army's success in the early phases of the invasion of the Soviet Union that plans were made to kill the Jews.  Furthermore, for a number of years now, Christian children have been consuming books and video games that involve killing atheists.

The answers to all these questions depends on which faction wins the battle for control.  Make no mistake, once the theocracy door is open, there will be a battle for control between the various religions.  They are all making ecumenical claims and brotherly noises now because they have to, but once they know they can seize power, they will move to do so.  We know this because that is precisely what they are doing now in their battle to overcome the decidedly secular United States' Constitution and because it is what they have done at every opportunity in the past.

When it comes right down to it, this will mean war.  The religions have all rejected reason when it comes to their primary views on the world, and those views are irreconcilable.  Conflict is inevitable and only force can settle a dispute where reason has been rejected.

I could go on, but I think you get my drift.  Take the most crazy political notions you hear the religious mutter when they think they
are not being recorded or overheard, and you can bet that quite of few of them are thinking the same thing and wouldn't mind seeing those ideas become law or fact.  I know I have heard some very crazy stuff from the religious right.  Crazy enough for me to be very concerned.  I believe in the America that Jefferson and Madison created.  I am not sure it still exists but I am sure we are being pushed further and further away from it.

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